America’s Favorite Color is Blue: Lessons from the Crayola Factory

With all the glorious colors, America likes blue. Don’t get me wrong, it’s rich, velvety, smooth (like a good wine). I was just surprised. And even more surprised to discover that the folks at Crayola know this.

HOW do they know this? Mall intercepts? Excuse me, sir, but what’s your favorite color? Phone surveys that interrupt dinner? And WHY do they need to know? Are there now more hues of blue in the Crayola family to satisfy this color-love?

Wall of crayon names at the Crayola Factory, PA

My favorite: see below. Both because it’s purple(ish) and because of its name.

Purple Mountains Majesty crayon color at Crayola Factory, PA

Look out Mouse, Crayola is in Town (well, a different town)

The Crayola Experience in Easton, PA is giving the Mouse a run for the happiest place on Earth. For starters, there’s air conditioning.

And then there’s crafts! It wasn’t just my inner child who was happy, my fully grown adult self was ecstatic!

  • A whole station with melted crayons that you paint and smear with a q-tip. Please and thank you! (see my purple frog masterpiece below)
  • Bins of vibrant crayons beckoning you to color. Who me? Well, I suppose I could, just this once. (That beach scene, I did it. Mom will put it on the fridge, I have no doubt).
  • The chance to have your picture taken with Spiderman, Cinderella or a character from Cars and it becomes a coloring book page. Happy Day! The woman in line behind me wondered where my kids were. Umm, no kids needed. Oh, I mean, I’m getting this done for my nieces. Right, that’s what I’m doing. Turns out if I stand up straight I’m twice as big as Cinderella – we can’t have that. Sit on the stool for the little kids (delicious) and my face is in a not so delicate region of our fair princess. So I did thigh-burning squats and managed to smile at the same time. THAT’s how awesome it is here!

My art at the Crayola Factory, PA

People colored intensely. Kids, of course. And parents to oblige their kids, but then they were into it, too. My favorite were the teens: older siblings who were there perhaps begrudgingly but then brightened at the coloring table and bent over the paper to outline in dark and fill in with a softer touch.

Coloring at the Crayola Experience, PA

The Making of a Crayon

145 billion crayons have been made since 1903. Shazzam.

Parafin wax, clay and color combine to make crayons. The concoction is poured into a machine and the mold is filled from the bottom–like smushing a colander into pasta. Let sit for 10 minutes. 1,200 crayons can be made per colander/die. These are then hand-inspected for perfection: are the tips all pointy? Any air bubbles? If so, they’re melted again.

Wrapping crayons used to be done by hand. Local farm wives would take on the work during the winter, bringing supplies to their homes. They could turn out 10-15 per minute. Today’s machinery wraps 710 per minute.

Making crayons and markers at the Crayola Experience, PA

You Knew it was Coming

The World’s Largest Crayon.

Made in 2003, it is, of course, blue. It weighs 1,500 pounds, is 15 feet long and 16 inches in diameter. It was made from melted “leftolas” submitted by 123,000 children from around the country. It could draw a straight line for 10 miles or color in a football field.

Why is everything compared to the scale of a football field? I know it’s ubiquitous, but not to me. When I was parking my trailer for the first time ever which also happened to be the first time at my cousin’s warehouse, he was guiding me. You have [xx] meters, he said. Could you speak in American, please. You have [xx] yards. Could you speak in girl?

World's Largest Crayon

Tiny Crayon Sculptures

Turns out the brother of a college friend makes groovy sculptures from Crayons. Six degrees of separation. Just the other day I was wondering who I know who does this… Joking aside: the work is intricate and lovely. Just like the brothers themselves.

Pete Goldlust Carved Crayons

But Wait, there’s More

Fun pics of the joy to be had. Click the pic to advance to the next image.

***

So…what’s YOUR favorite color?
Markers, pencils, or crayons?

Disclosure: Thank you to the fine folks at the Crayola Experience and Lehigh Valley Tourism for the complimentary entrance. That in no way influenced the extreme glee I had while there or continue to have every time I tell people about the visit.

Visit http://www.discoverlehighvalley.com/ to learn more about Lehigh Valley.

6 Responses

What a fun post! I know your Mom, and you’re right. That artwork is going right on their fridge. PS: What are loftolas? Are they nubs of unused crayons?

great question – yes, leftolas are nubs of broken crayons. it’s their term and i used it!

07.19.12

Did they have an exhibit of politically incorrect colors of the past? Like flesh and American Indian Red?

they didn’t talk about the politically incorrect colors, but they did talk about the addition of however many new flesh colors were added in whatever year. come on, of course they aren’t going to admit gaffs!

07.19.12

Mine’s Blue Too!

07.19.12

I want to go there now too! (And I totally understand the request to talk in “girl.”)

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